Pep Guardiola hailed an "extraordinary" Fernandinho performance after the midfielder scored a stunning strike in a 5-0 defeat of Burnley that sent Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League.
City were already on track for victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva before Fernandinho's rocket secured all three points for the champions.
Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane added further goals in the closing stages, with an ideal day for City completed by Kevin De Bruyne's return to action after two months on the sidelines.
But it was Fernandinho and John Stones - the England defender filling in on the right side of defence - who caught Guardiola's eye.
"All the players make a good performance, especially John, playing in a position that is not natural for him in the absence of Kyle [Walker] and Danilo," Guardiola told a news conference.
"He did really well, Fernandinho made an extraordinary performance and in general, especially in the second half, it was a good performance.
"Fernandinho was so important for us, no doubt. Today he was clever in finding more time to find the strikers, wingers and attacking midfielders. His body shape, every time he received the ball he was ready to play.
"So he was incredible, today was one of the best performances of the season and we're delighted, he is a key player for us."
Mahrez bounced back from missing a penalty at the end of a 0-0 draw at Liverpool before the international break with a fine display that was capped with the goal of the day, a 25-yard curler.
"He played so good at Anfield, that's why I decided to play him again," Guardiola told reporters of the former Leicester City star. "It was not easy there, he plays with a lot of personality, football can happen, but only takers can miss penalties.
"He scored an incredible goal, with an aggressive approach with the ball to go to the full-backs, the movement between the full-backs, especially in the second half with Phil [Foden], was so good. The second half Bernardo moved better in that position and we made a good performance.
"But we knew it - he [Mahrez] is a talented player and a guy who likes to play with the ball and he doesn't miss balls. In the box, he is a dangerous guy because he can go to the byline or score with his left or his right, he is a good signing for us."
City face Shahktar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday and Guardiola indicated the returning De Bruyne is ready to play a part.
"He has no pain, physically he is a guy who is so strong, he needs minutes, this is the first time he played 30 minutes and this is so important," the Catalan continued.
"We have a lot of games but of course he's not new - not like Riyad - three years together so when I say something he knows what we have to do. He's another important player and he's back and will help us to achieve what we want to do. The first target is to play good."
16. Dezember 2018
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15. Dezember 2018
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|Bristol shock La Rochelle, Clermont win again|
|LeBron: Meeting Jordan for first time was godly|
|Ronaldo scores Juventus´ 5,000th Serie A goal|
|I was all over the place - Allen reaches Scottish Open final despite hangovers|
|Solari defends wasteful Asensio after slim Madrid win|
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|I do my work on the pitch – Icardi unconcerned by Inter contract discussions|
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|Fulham have to stick together, says Ranieri|
|Nuno hails ´very special´ Wolves achievement after third straight win|
|Stuttgart captain Gentner´s father dies at Hertha fixture|
|Valverde not desperate for new centre-back amid talk of Christensen loan|
|Toulouse and Saracens stay perfect in Champions Cup|
|Kovac lauds Bayern´s best performance of the season|
|Barcelona can get the best out of Coutinho and Dembele, claims Valverde|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Werder Bremen 1: Alcacer and Reus guarantee top spot for mid-season break|
|Bristol City 2 Norwich City 2: Canaries knocked off their perch despite late equaliser|
|Atletico´s fighting spirit lauded by Simeone, Godin|
|Hodgson relieved to see Palace end Zaha curse|
|Real Madrid 1 Rayo Vallecano 0: Benzema secures steady response to CSKA loss|
|Fulham 0 West Ham 2: Snodgrass, Antonio punish profligate hosts|
|Warnock brands refereeing situation ´a disgrace´ after Watford defeat|
|Inter 1 Udinese 0: Icardi penalty gets lethargic Nerazzurri back on track|
|Wagner retains belief in survival bid despite Newcastle defeat|
|Griezmann feeling the strain after busy 2018|
|Pochettino ´so pleased´ as tired Tottenham scrap to Burnley win|
|Man Utd hand Smalling new contract|
|ES Tunis 0 Al Ain 3: Convincing victory books River Plate semi|
|Championship Review: Bamford fires Leeds to summit, Middlesbrough defeated by QPR|
|Curry reacts to Kings´ trolling with moon landing video|
|Wentz ruled out of Rams clash|
|Pochettino reaches 100 Premier League wins for Tottenham faster than Wenger for Arsenal|
|Real Valladolid 2 Atletico Madrid 3: Griezmann the hero on landmark appearance|
|Silva rues Richarlison´s missed chances at City|
|Gibson has no worries over Proteas batsmen|
|Wolves 2 Bournemouth 0: Jimenez and Cavaleiro score against toothless Cherries|
|Crystal Palace 1 Leicester City 0: Captain Milivojevic earns vital victory|
|Watford 3 Cardiff City 2: Hornets hang on despite late fightback|
|Tottenham 1 Burnley 0: Eriksen snatches victory at the death|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Newcastle United 1: Rondon strike settles scrap|
|Sabres suspend forward Berglund for failing to report to the team|
|Saunders thanks Fury for getting him ´back on the right track´|
|Hannover 0 Bayern Munich 4: Gnabry and Kimmich star in crushing win|
|I admire Sterling – Guardiola|
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|Jamieson holds slender lead in Malelane|
|Kashima Antlers 3 Guadalajara 2: Comeback win sets up Real Madrid semi-final|
|Hosszu claims fourth Hangzhou gold, Le Clos beaten by Santos|
|Manchester City 3 Everton 1: Jesus at the double as City go top|
|Parker defiant on low blow claims after ending 2018 ´with a bang´|